WARRIORS WIN UNDER LIGHTS, LAKERS UPSET LIONS
By Nick Boylan
After a 2020 lacking the passion, fire and competition of WRFL TIV Division 1 football, it was Hoppers Crossing who kicked off the anticipated 2021 season with a 31-point win over Spotswood under Friday night lights.
While Spotswood kicked the first two majors of 2021, it was Hoppers Crossing who took control behind Brenton Payne’s two goals in the first term. From a 22-point quarter-time lead, the Warriors were superior to the Woodsmen for the rest of the contest. Cassius Napoleone White was sublime with a best on ground effort that featured three goals, while Nathan Williams was similarly excellent in the Hoppers Crossing win.
With 568 days since Deer Park defeated Altona in the 2019 Division 1 Grand Final, eyes were glued to how both grand finalists would perform in their first game back. For Round 1, it was Altona who sent a message with a dominant 83-point win over Point Cook.
An 11 goal first half set the table for the Vikings, with Mitch Norton starring and Saad El-Hawli booting four majors. Altona face Hoppers Crossing next weekend, in what promises to be a Round 2 highlight.
2019 and seven-time defending premiers Deer Park contrastingly struggled in their flag defense, with Caroline Springs upsetting the Lions by 34-points. With many premiership heroes no longer donning Deer Park jerseys, it was the Lakers who came out on top, with inaccuracy in front of goal preventing an even larger victory.
Keenan O’Shea and Jack Heron impressed for Caroline Springs, while new signing Lachlan Smart battled hard for the Lions. Deer Park will look to get their first win over the year against Spotswood, while the Lakers will try to make it 2 and 0 against newly promoted Yarraville Seddon.
Elsewhere, Yarraville Seddon Eagles celebrated their promotion to TIV Division 1 with an impressive 38-point win over Sunshine at Kinder Smith Reserve. While the Kangaroos kept things close in the first half, the Eagles were thoroughly dominant in the latter stages, with a five goal to zero third term setting the stage for a historic win in Yarraville Seddon’s first TIV Division 1 game.
Zac Pritchard was excellent for the Eagles, alongside Ben Taylor up forward, while Belal Abou-Eid was strong for Sunshine in the loss.
In other action, Werribee Districts showed they’ll again be a contender in 2021, with an impressive 67-point win over St Albans, with Josh Mould and Daniel Nielson in great form for the Tigers.
Werribee Districts will hope their strong form continues against Point Cook next week, while St Albans will get their chance to salute in 2021 as they face off against Sunshine.